AVER – Orbis Majora
Sprawling stoner psychedelia and intergalactic exploration comprise AVER‘s massive new full-length, Orbis Majora. This Sydney-based band melds elements of stoner metal and space rock into an epic mix that sounds like Kyuss and Pink Floyd strung out on hallucinogenics broadcasting straight from the cosmos. This kaleidoscopic and crunchy sound is proudly put on display across five lengthy compositions that culminate in a 50 minute sonic journey. “Feeding the Sun” kicks things off with a slow-burning 10-minute odyssey through hazy-eyed guitars, psychedelic strings, galloping riffs, and distorted sludgy grit. This slow-burning approach is employed extensively by AVER throughout the record, resulting in palpable tension and release and plenty of exploratory passages. The 13-minute penultimate track “Unanswered Prayers” is a prime example of this with its long stretches of deep space atmospherics that build into powerful, punchy sludge rock grooves and progressive rock flair. The record is full of unexpected twists and too many infectious riffs and melodies to count. Simply put, Orbis Majora is completely engaging throughout.
Release Date: January 18, 2019
Label: Ripple Music
Favorite Tracks: “Disorder” and “Unanswered Prayers”
For Fans Of: Kyuss, Sleep, Black Space Riders and Pink Floyd
Barshasketh – Barshasketh
UK black metallers Barshasketh deliver over 50 minutes of swirling blackened chaos on their fourth, self-titled album. Weaving together traditional black metal elements with dissonant, unhinged personality, Barshasketh‘s self-titled affair is practically everything die-hard black metal fans desire. Blistering guitar tones, writhing and malevolent riffs, hyper-speed drumming, venomous vocals; it’s all there for consumption. “Vacillation” sets the tone for the record to come with its back-and-forth struggle between angular, mangled instrumentation and straightforward bursts of tremolo-picked rage. The mayhem is amplified tenfold during a duo of two-part songs that comprise the album’s midsection. “Consciousness I and II” and “Ruin I and II” utilize every blackened weapon the band have in their arsenal. Spiraling, atonal licks collide with blitzes of hell-spawned guitars driven by ferocious blast beats. Whirlwinds of squirming, unorthodox riffs bleed into throttling gallops and further into dreary melodies. From start to finish Barshasketh is a non-stop rush of unforgiving black metal that stays true to the genre’s roots, but is in no way bound by them.
Release Date: January 15, 2019
Label: W.T.C. Productions
Favorite Tracks: “Vacillation”, “Consciousness I”, “Consciousness II” and “Recrudescence”
For Fans Of: Aosoth, Outre, Mgla and Deathspell Omega
Straight Panic – Un/Control
The newest release from prolific power electronics artist Straight Panic is, unsurprisingly, a brutal face-melting experience. Titled Un/Control, the new recording features four new compositions of unforgiving soundscapes and unflinching subject matter, as made evident by song titles such as “Castration” and “Sexual Predation”. The songs waste no time assaulting the listener with formidable bursts of caustic noise that feel like battery acid is being poured directly into the ear canals. These walls of sound reverberate and swirl with bitter distortion while a mix of harsh vocals and unnerving news clips add to the aural discomfort. Pulsating bass and whirling atmospherics help add texture to these sensory assaults, but overall it is just one devastating rush of hate after the next. This is not a release to be taken lightly.
Release Date: January 18, 2019
Label: Damien Records
Favorite Tracks: “Sexual Predation”
For Fans Of: Wolf Eyes, Axebreaker, Merzbow and Many Blessings
Ash Prison – Prophetic Automation
Indonesian technical death metal crew Ash Prison give listeners a blistering taste of what’s to come with their Prophetic Automation demo. The two-track release serves as a precursor to the band’s forthcoming full-length debut (due out sometime in 2019) and features a lot of promise. The demo’s title track opens up the record with a slew of galloping riffs and swift, arpeggiated leads. Spiraling technicality and triumphant melodeath passages add devastation and depth to the tune and calls Planetary Duality-era The Faceless to mind. “Neurotic Preacher” follows with a twinkling intro of neoclassical synth instrumentation that quickly explodes into dismembering tech death brimming with chaos and melody. Eventually synth-generated atmospherics tangle with the high-octane, six-string wizardry as the track reaches its glossy climax. If these two tracks are any indication of what their debut will be like, then technical and melodic death metal fans may want to pay attention.
Release Date: December 31, 2018
Label: Eastbreath Records
Favorite Tracks: “Neurotic Preacher”
For Fans Of: The Faceless, Inanimate Existence and Mordant Rapture.